Dine On Authentic Saga Wagyu At This Chic Restaurant
There's nothing ordinary about this rich, buttery Saga-gyu beef that will truly melt in your mouth!
You've known about wagyu beef and it's superlative qualities. In fact, you probably love it. But we're willing to bet that what you've tasted is the legendary Kobe and Matsusaka Wagyu beef. But there's another delicious gem we've all been sleeping on: Saga Wagyu. This is wagyu beef from cattle raised in the Saga prefecture, and it's just as juicy, just as fatty, and just as silky and flavorfully good as the rest.
When talking about food in Japan, my mind always goes to world-famous Kobe beef, the Ishikari Hot Pot, and the culinary hotspots in Tokyo and Kyoto. When I hear “Saga,” all that registers in my mind is that Between Maybes movie shot in Saga that starred Gerald Anderson and Julia Barretto, which eventually led to the fallout between Gerald and his then girlfriend, Bea Alonzo.
But showbiz chika aside, Saga is actually a quiet and beautiful rural prefecture in Japan known for its porcelain and some of the most precious beef on the planet: the Saga Wagyu.
Saga Wagyu: A short history
Wagyu beef dates back to post-World War II Japan, when the Japanese tried to revive its Japanese Black cattle breed. Saga beef, however, is fairly young. A product of modern history, science, nature, and culinary art, Saga beef was born in 1983 after a local cattle-rearing group conducted a research program that led to the creation of a special breed of Japanese Black.
Dr. Toshimune Tateno, now called the Father of Saga-Gyu (Saga Beef), is the man who developed the DNA of the cattle now being used to produce the Saga wagyu. Although the breed is slightly different from the other Wagyu, the cows are still raised and fed in the same way as the more popular cattle from Kobe and Mie, and are held to the same standards. All meat must pass a meticulous Beef Marbling Standard test, and must score 7 out of 12 for it to be called Saga beef. Currently, all Saga Wagyu are rated A4 and A5—a testament to its fine quality and taste.
Despite the worldwide craze over the unique marbling and buttery smooth quality of Wagyu, surprisingly, it was only recently that Wagyu importation became legal in the Philippines. In 2014, the Philippine government finally legalized the importation of wagyu, paving the way for Japanese Wagyu such as Saga to finally enter the country.
In February 2015, Mayon Consolidated, Inc. was one of the first distributors to bring Saga Wagyu officially to the Philippines. Shortly after that, they began supplying Saga beef to hotels such as Diamond Hotel Philippines, introducing Saga’s secret gem to the hungry Filipino market.
Where to find Saga Wagyu in Manila?
Diamond Hotel’s Yurakuen Japanese Restaurant received its official Saga-gyu (Saga Japanese Wagyu) plaque from JA-Saga, an agricultural cooperative in Saga, Japan that awards and lists the official restaurants that pass their screening for how to handle and serve Saga wagyu. Ricardo Hao and Varsita Hao from Mayon Consolidated and Yurakuen’s Head Chef Louie Rocela flew to Saga to experience first hand how Saga beef is made.
Present during the awarding of the plaque were representatives from the Japanese cooperative that made Saga wagyu possible, and executives from Filipino importer Mayon Consolidated, who has been instrumental in bringing Saga wagyu to the country.
Saga Wagyu is recognized as one of the best Wagyu in the world. Sample it's superb quality at Yurakuen Japanese Restaurant, G/F Diamond Hotel, open daily 11 AM to 10 PM. Reserve at (02) 8528-3000.